Thursday, 5 February 2009

Concern over 'creeping privatisation' of public services in Wales

Plaid has written to the Wrecsam Council's chief executive Isobel Garner seeking reassurances that a feasibility study by BT to look at "agile working" is not privatisation through the back door.

It is claimed that agile working is about staff working from home, mobile working and hot desking and better use of buildings and resources. BT has been engaged by Flintshire Council, along with Wrecsam and Denbighshire councils, to look at how the councils work.

Plaid Cymru councillor and prospective parliamentary candidate for Wrecsam Arfon Jones has now written to Isobel Garner raising his party's concerns about the long-term implications of this, fear which are shared by council workers.

Councillor Jones said: "Both ourselves in Plaid Cymru and the Public Service Unions in Wales are concerned at BT's involvement in this project. We think that it is a way for them to get a foot in the door and get an advantage when it comes to future public-private partnerships, which is nothing but privatisation by another name."

Councillor Jones added: "We need to get away from this Thatcherite/Nu Labour belief that 'private is good, public is bad' mentality. It is not the case - there are examples of councils bringing services back in-house because it is more cost effective than outsourcing or privatising.

"Even the Government's own National Audit Office have reported that two out of three Public Private Partnerships established to deliver council services fail."

UPDATE: Welsh Labour Grassroots, a left-wing pressure group, shares our concerns about privatisation.


Anonymous said...

This is a total non-story, BT being a telecommunications company know a lot more about "agile working" (whatever that might be) than WCBC. Do you get scared everytime a consultant carrys out a feasibility study??

Plaid Whitegate said...

WCBC already operates "agile working" for some of its staff in public protection, which we seem to have managed without calling in BT.